Proper Email Etiquette

Email marketing is a powerful tool to grow your business. But before you begin, be aware of email marketing etiquette as well as some common email marketing pitfalls and mistakes that can cost you. 

My series, The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Email Marketing, helps financial advisors understand how email marketing works so they can properly use financial email marketing strategies to connect with prospects and gain more clients. 

In earlier articles, I’ve focused on what you should do for effective email marketing.

Now it is time to dive into a few things you should be careful not to do.

Professional Email Etiquette

Before we cover email marketing campaigns, I’ll start by discussing some tips you might not have considered when it comes to sending individual emails. All of the activities you do to promote your business and gain new clients is considered marketing, so even cold prospecting emails, emails with your referral partners, and emails following up with warm leads are all considered a kind of email marketing, so it’s important to use every opportunity to market effectively.

Email Signature

If you’re only putting your name and basic contact information in your email signature, you’re missing an opportunity to take full advantage of this space to engage with all of the people you’re emailing. 

Use an eye-catching branded email signature that includes relevant information, such as your name, title, company name, phone numbers, website, and social media icons with clickable links to your profiles. 

Include a call to action with a link or button. For example, “Have you signed up for our newsletter? You can do that here.” You may also want to include a calendar link to book a consultation with you.

Your email signature is valuable real estate; don’t waste the opportunity to connect with people. 

Always Use BCC for Group Emails

Do you have a small list of people that you like to keep in the loop about things you find interesting, updates in your business, or upcoming events? Perhaps you’re letting your colleagues know you were featured in the media, that you’ll be speaking at a conference, or you’re sharing a study or interesting article you found. 

A bigt faux pas you can make with email is to CC your list when you should be using the BCC field. Not only are you exposing each person’s email address to the other people on the list, but if anyone hits “reply all” it will go to the whole list. 

This doesn’t seem to happen as often as it used to, but it’s something you want to avoid. People are very protective of their inboxes and this seemingly small mistake can annoy people more than you think. 

Bulk Email Etiquette

An email service provider (ESP) is a tool, such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, that sends bulk emails to a list of subscribers. Because all ESPs are required to be in compliance with email marketing regulations, using an ESP will help you stay in compliance. If you try to get around best practices or violate their terms and conditions, your account can be shut down.    

Follow Email Regulations

The most critical thing about email marketing etiquette when using an ESP is that you need permission to email every contact on your list. If you don’t have permission from subscribers, your email could be considered spam by the recipients, which damages your reputation—both with internet service providers and with the individuals who receive the unwanted emails. 

If your email is marked as “spam” by your recipients in their email client, you may end up on a list of spammers that are automatically blocked by internet providers.

The best email lists require double opt-in. This means that subscribers are required to complete two steps to join the list. For example, they fill out an opt-in form and then open and click a “confirm your subscription” email. This protects people who are not sure what they are joining, prevents spam sign-ups, and keeps people from subscribing others without their consent.  

To be CAN-SPAM compliant, all of your emails need to include an unsubscribe link, physical street address, link to your privacy policy, and information about why they received the email (e.g., “You are receiving this email because you requested updates from us.”). Most importantly, make it easy for people to unsubscribe and honor all unsubscribe requests immediately.

Be Consistent

Another big mistake many small businesses make with their email marketing is lack of consistency. Remember, one of the reasons email marketing is effective is that you show up consistently to nurture relationships and build trust. Showing up inconsistently has the opposite effect.

You want people to expect your emails and look forward to them, so it’s to your advantage to show up at the same time or day each week or month—stick to a calendar. It’s okay to email more frequently, but don’t email less frequently or skip issues. This makes you seem unreliable and too busy to keep your commitments. 

Most significantly, if you fall off the map and suddenly pop back up months later, chances are people will have forgotten who you are. Your open rates will tank, unsubscribes will soar, and your list will grow cold. 

That said, if you have allowed your list to grow cold, that doesn’t mean you should abandon it altogether. There are ways to reintroduce yourself and warm it back up again. But it’s always best if you can avoid putting yourself in that situation.

Conclusion

By following email marketing best practices, not only should you be striving to be effective and get the best results, but you need to tread lightly to avoid breaking the law or committing a faux pas that make you seem unprofessional and tarnish your reputation.

Now that you are aware of what not to do, in my next article I’ll help you take your email marketing to the next level by showing you how to set up successful automations.

Download a free copy of the Email Marketing Checklist & Template here. 

Sometimes email marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help craft opt-ins to build their email lists and create captivating email marketing campaigns to engage with their audience in the most effective way possible.  Reach out to us to see how we can help!

About the Author

Crystal Lee Butler, MBA is a creative marketer and results-oriented business consultant with over a decade of experience collaborating with independent advisers. At Crystal Marketing Solutions, she delivers exceptional insights for financial professionals enabling them to create a consistent marketing presence so they can focus on the things that matter most to them.